Saturday, May 25, 2013

Turning Weaknesses into Strengths--for Better Health

The word "weakness" has a tendency to create such a heavy feeling in the soul, whether it's related to career, relationships, health, or any other area of life. It can make one feel panicky and focused on what is lacking in terms of skills, talents, or strengths. It can create a storm front in the mind with gloomy clouds floating in over your head. Ultimately, the W word can feel pretty awful when it pops up in life. Does it have to be that way? No way!

When seen with a clearer perspective, the W word can change into a whole new world that presents you with opportunities for growth, learning, and flexing your potential. It just depends on the way you look at it. It can be too easy to look at weakness through the lens of comparison. For example, statements such as "He can do this" or "She can do that" are usually followed by a disappointed "I can't."

It's also too easy sometimes to look at weakness through the lens of permanence. For example, once you see that you have a weakness it can feel like nothing will ever change and you're stuck in that category. If you bend your ear a little closer and listen to what weaknesses are really saying, however, you'll hear a different story.

Points of weakness will let you know that you've walked into a new area that can be developed in your life. For example, maybe you're learning how to play tennis and at first your forehand shot looks like a permanent weakness in your game. But then you think some more about this mentality and start noticing, "Hey--it's too premature to decide this...I haven't even tried to develop my forehand yet!"

So you start to practice, stay dedicated, and after a few months, your forehand is in a different category from just a plain "Weakness." It is still a beginner level shot, but now it's been renamed in your mind as a developing skill. Not only is your forehand getting better, but it's also teaching you new things about your learning style, your overall tennis form, and your ability to adapt on the court. Doesn't that sound a whole lot more workable than a plain old weakness?

Weaker areas in your body and health often whisper valuable advice to you as well about opportunities for growth and stretching your horizons. For example, maybe you consistently have trouble sleeping and have labeled your sleep as "bad" or "weak." The more trouble you have sleeping, the more you chastise your sleep and feel weak in this area of health. Meanwhile, your sleep starts knocking a little louder and telling you to look at other parts of your health and your life. It wants you to pay attention to the factors that may be making it difficult for you to achieve a good night's rest.

You decide to listen and start to see all kinds of clues that your sleep was trying to send you about your health. It turns out that your diet can use a little tweaking so that you get more energizing nutrition during the day and less stimulating sweets and carbs at night. Your sleep also pointed out that stress was starting to build a little too high for comfort. Not taking care of your daytime stress, it started following you to bed at night. You decide to make a few changes to your lifestyle and you not only start sleeping better, but you also now have a more supportive diet and more effective stress management in place.

The "W's," or weaknesses in your life--with enough practice, patience, and dedication--can turn into "S's," or strengths. Don't let the word "weakness" loom larger than it needs to and create a barrier between you and your potential for growth and learning. If you listen carefully, your weaknesses can teach you a lot. So, in which areas of your life and your health do you want to turn a weakness into a strength?

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